Open Thread for March 25, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor, Sucker Punch, and Captain America.

Oh, hey Overthinkers. Didn’t see you there. I’m just Opening up this Thread.

Overthinking It joins the world in mourning the loss of Elizabeth Taylor, star of National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

Is there happier news this week? No. Sucker Punch is apparently terrible; Chris Brown will get another chance to be interviewed by ABC, punching some windows and possibly some girls and the judges used their save on American Idol. And Knut the Polar Bear died.

But the future holds hope! There’s Win-Win by indie darling, The Wire vet and Boston College alumnus Tom McCarthy. Oh, and the first theatrical trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger.

Comment of the Week, on Fenzel’s Musical Talmud: Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, left by “English Professor”:

Black’s ‘Friday’ is a masterful paean to teenage ennui. Clearly conceived as a destructive and insightful response to Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’, both narrators begin by waking early and taking us through their day. However, Ke$ha’s day leads us to a rave where, at one point, time seems to stand still – an ecstatic release that Black cannot attain. Instead, barred from the twin temptations of drugs and alcohol, Black focuses her excitement, futilely, on the only ‘drug’ available to her at her young age – the day of the week, Friday.

The mantra she repeats to herself over the bridge, ‘Yesterday was Thursday. Today it is Friday’ is clearly trying to imbue this day with the decadent significance other artists such as Ke$ha or the Black Eyed Peas do to their own excesses. But note the detached look in Black’s eyes, the way the rest of her household rushes past her as she, quite literally, stands still. The constant repetitions of ‘partying’ and ‘fun’, as well as the number of variations on ‘I’m so excited’ and ‘I don’t want this weekend to end’ reveal the real truth.

Who is the narrator trying to convince here? The audience? Or herself?

Could Elizabeth Taylor be brought back to life, infused with the strength of Knut the Polar Bear, and sent on a top-secret mission to punch Chris Brown in the heart? (… seriously, can this happen?) Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

24 Comments on “Open Thread for March 25, 2011”

  1. Sylvia #

    The first half of the Captain America trailer makes me think that the story is going to be a riff on Flowers for Algernon, but instead of getting smart Steve Rogers gets jacked.

    • John Perich OTI Staff #

      The trailer looks like there’s a lot of story in there. Steve Rogers getting rejected from enlistment, humiliated in public, accepted through perseverance, selected for an experiment, experimented on, trained, equipped, THEN sent on a mission.

      So I suspect this movie will be 2.5 hours.

  2. Lee OTI Staff #

    I’m trying to figure out why I’m so excited for Captain America. It’s corny jingoism, right? Like an un-ironic “Team America: World Police”? Also, I know next to nothing about the Captain America backstory compared to, say, Spider-Man or Batman, so there’s no previous attachment to the character that’s drawing me in.

    I think it’s probably the WWII setting that has people (like me) interested. Let’s kill some Nazis! Hooray!

    • startingfromzero #

      The WWII setting is the thing that’s got me most interested in the movie. I do have to wonder at the choice of setting a superhero movie in the past; it’s not like it needs another layer of escapism, and updating the character & story would be a cheaper and safer choice. Of course, you can’t go wrong with killing Nazis.

      But between Captain America and the new X-Men movie (and, to some extent, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes), it could be that superhero period pieces are a trend. Maybe Thor should have been done with actual Vikings.

      • Gab #

        I like conspiracy theories, so I kind of like that idea, the notion that it’s more about sticking with fads than sticking with the story. From what I gather about the origins of Captain America, not having him be a WWII soldier in some capacity would be like taking away the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents in front of him as a kid, or not having Uncle Ben die in Spider-Man. One of those fundamental aspects of the story that are sort of off-limits for tampering with too much. BUT, maybe that plays right into what they’re after.

        • Howard #

          My understanding is that part of the appeal of Captain America is that he doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the Marvel universe. While most other heroes have sliding timeframes for their origins because they would be really old if comic time lined up with real time (for example, Spider-Man would be in his mid-60’s), Captain America was frozen in ice and then revived, so they can keep his origin rooted in WWII. Marvel also likes to throw a lot of melodrama at their heroes – again, look at Spider-Man, who is almost always short on money, trying to balance his superhero-ing with his normal life, and often dealing with other personal issues. I think Captain America, in his modern form, is intended to inspire nostalgia for a time when things were more clear-cut morally (Nazis are bad! Fight Nazis!), as well as to a time that people now think of as America’s heyday.

          Look at the recent Marvel movies – Spider-Man is about Peter Parker combating science gone wrong. Iron Man is about Tony Stark confronting his own inventions gone wrong and his hubris. Thor is apparently about Thor overcoming his own personal problems as well, with a side of beating up federal agents. Captain America is easier to digest. Who can argue with punching Nazis?

  3. Steven Sousa #

    I’m excited for all the Marvel movies, because the concept of The Avengers is unlike anything that has yet been tried in the movies. Freddy vs. Jason worked much better than it had any right to, because the combined might of two movie icons in the same frame made the whole thing interesting. The Avengers has the chance to take it to another level.

    I’m really rooting for it to succeed, because if it does then Warner Brothers will certainly throw a hundred million dollars or so at Nolan to do Justice League of America in 2015 with Bale as Batman, Routh as Superman, Reynolds as Green Lantern, etc.

    • Lee OTI Staff #

      I dunno…I saw the “Thor” trailer this weekend and I felt very much “Meh.” Norse god? Seriously? Maybe I should give this more of a chance, but right now the premise alone is killing my enthusiasm for this movie.

      As for the larger “Avengers” thing that Marvel is doing, I thought that “Iron Man 2” suffered a lot from all of the extraneous “Avengers” stuff that they threw into the mix. Samuel L. Jackson with an eyepatch? What exactly is he doing here?

      • Sylvia #

        Dude! Sam Jackson is Nick Fury! Better him than Hasselhoff. (Yes, there is a Nick Fury movie with David Hasselhoff.)

        • Gab #

          Will they throw in “mother f***ing” somewhere, you think?

      • George #

        I thought Iron Man 2 was sort of an elaborate means of establishing that the Avengers thing is going to happen… a feature-length advertisement, if you will. Its success as either a movie or a marketing ploy is debatable, but I think it should be judged in a category separate from the Avengers’ origin stories.

    • Gab #

      I’m actually curious how they’re going to tie this Captain America movie into the future Avengers film(s). If this one is taking place during WWII (which yes, is supposed to be when Captain America became Captain America), but the other Avengers are the 2000s, Cappy would be in his eighties for the latter stuff. I’m going to assume something kind of throwaway about how the experiment made him age slowly or stop aging altogether or some kinda jazz will be used, but I see it failing really easily. Not that it wouldn’t “make sense” within the world of the movies, but rather that it would just be a little too watery to seem like anything but a cheap writing ploy to easily explain away or fill a major plot-hole that, if not filled, would prevent the linkage between the franchises in the first place.

      Sorry, that was supposed to be me asking you how you think they’ll do it, rather than me pontificating. So yeah, what do you think they’ll do, and what do you think would work best?

      I’d love a quality Justice League movie, too, btw. They should make a Green Arrow movie, too, but that may be too much green for one franchise to handle.

      • Gab #

        Sigh… that wasn’t all supposed to be italicized, obviously.

      • Brian #

        Maybe, as much as is practically possible in Hollywood, Captain America is geared toward an older demographic, like seniors or baby boomers? Tommy Lee Jones, of Space Cowboys fame, features heavily in the trailer and the whole thin and frail could be applied to old people, so maybe it’s a geriatrics version of Kick Ass, or some power fantasy of denying old age? Perfect timing as anxiety is high after Taylor’s death.

        OR, you can say the trailer is driven in parallel by T. Jones monologue and Chris Evans transformation; so the whole is about the older people telling young people to get off their ass and support the upcoming baby boomer tsunami of retirement.

        There was a recent Simpson’s episode where Homer totally trashes something irresponsibly and all the senior citizens fix it and Homer says, “Their can do will save our never try every time.”

        • Gab #

          So the juice is… medicaid?

          • Brian #

            In the first scenario, yes, the second it’s a metaphor for the greatest generations sacrifice inspiring the apathetic youth.

            Idk, I was thinking the movie would bridge age gaps, then I tried to tie in Elizabeth Taylor, and Chris Brown’s narcissism, then I huffed some glue, it all seemed to synchronize perfectly before it wore off, now it does seem a little stretched.

  4. Trevor #

    I remember how, back when they announced the first Spider-Man movie, everyone was scratching their heads (Tobey Maguire?). Now, some ten years and two good movies from a trilogy later, I am not so quick to judge the resurgence of comic book movies because someone will get it right (the first Iron Man was pretty solid, still haven’t seen the sequel). What a lot of comic book movies do wrong is get all their eggs in one basket; at the time, I thought nothing of the Green Goblin dying at the end of the first Spider-man, but now that I think about it he was a much more compelling villain and deserved at least another shot in a future movie (Doc Ock was perfect for the sequel, but Sandman and Venom are probably my two least-favorite Spidey villains so I was not enthused about the third movie).

  5. Trevor #

    I also want to say that Liz Taylor in her youth….good god, now there was a sexy woman. Go watch “A Place in the Sun” if you don’t believe me.

    • Joel E C #

      I told a friend of mine a few months ago that she looked like a young Elisabeth Taylor. She was very insulted. I was trying to give her a compliment, but she was picturing the lady from the White Diamonds commercial.

      • Trevor #

        Even in those commercials she was still hot (albeit in a probably Vaseline-covered camera lens kind of way).

    • Pasteur #

      Magwitch dies? Baltimore will be ours? I don’t get it.